Police Brace for Protests at Islamic Event in Texas

Police expect up to 1,000 protesters.

ByABC News
January 17, 2015, 12:18 PM

— -- The town of Garland, Texas is preparing for an influx of hundreds of protesters, who are expected to gather later this afternoon to protest an Islamic event.

The protesters are objecting to an event held by the Chicago-based Islamic organization called Sound Vision. Around 500 people are expected to attend the event called Stand with the Prophet Against Terror and Hate, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas. The event is being held in a building rented from the Garland school district.

Police have been monitoring social media and expect anywhere between 100 to 1,000 people to show up, according to a spokesman for the Garland Police Department.

Alia Salem, the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Texas, said they have asked for more police protection after threats were made on social media sites.

“We reported those to law enforcement,” said Alia Salem. “They have taken every possible measure to ensure this is going to be a safe event.”

Salem said the event aims “to educate others about Islam and Muslims for the purposes of combating Islamaphobia, terrorism and hate.”

Police confirmed they were monitoring social media and aware of hostile language but said there were no viable threats made.

On Friday about a dozen people protested outside of the Islamic Association of North Texas. Ruben Israel, a street preacher from Los Angeles, used a bullhorn to yell at worshipers, according to WFAA-TV.

"Time to repent," yelled Israel. "Islam is filled with murder! This is your wake up call."

Garland Police said they were aware and present at the protest on Friday. According to WFAA, Israel and other protesters stopped using the bullhorn once the call to prayer was sounded.

Police raised two watch towers and posted a squad car for security at the center, according to WFAA-TV.